"White men with guns! How did they get to
leave the scene - standing upright - whether
arrested or not, whereas Black men leave the
scene battered, bloodied or under a coroner’s sheet?"
know what it is…white people getting a lighter hand from the criminal
justice system than Black Americans would normally get. We see it
time and time again. Usually it’s at the expense of a Black man’s
life on video, but this time, it’s documented in Associated Press (AP)
photographs. It’s the biggest, whitest “elephant in the room.”
The good thing is social media allows voices from all over America to
amplify that very inequality. On Monday, police in Waco, Texas,
charged over 170 people in connection with a deadly shootout last
Sunday at a family restaurant. Nine people were killed and 18 were
wounded when a brawl that began inside the restaurant spilled out to
the parking lot. The killings were reportedly sparked by a long
standing feud between rival motorcycle gangs. Those arrested have been
charged with organized crime in connection with capital murder. Those
people should have been charged long before this, but it’s clear that
the government—local, state and federal - were aware of their criminal
activities, but acquiesced to those illicit deeds.
We’ve come to learn that the police were “monitoring” the gang’s
activities, but didn’t do a damned thing about what might happen.
The violence is the latest in a number of deadly encounters in recent
years among motorcycle gangs in the US.
I can’t say that these motorcyclists are “dangerous looking” and should
be profiled, but if that’s not an acceptable position to take regarding
these people, then why is it acceptable that other people are deemed
“dangerous” and profiled with overwhelming acceptance?
Yes, we’ve all seen the images of the mass arrest of these burly,
well-nourished men. Anyone could, within reason, deem them as
“intimidating” and even threatening; but strangely even, not one
corporate media outlet ever referred to them as “thugs.” I find
it even stranger that Black men are often referred to as “thugs”
whether they’ve committed an illegal act or not. Just based on
appearance, many right-wing Conservative pundits use the pejorative
term with the greater intent of race-divisiveness—with great success.
I was listening to Tuesday’s Diane Rehm Show; it was an NPR on-air
radio panel analysis of the event: white panelists, tenured academics
and sympathizers of the truly guilty party. I listened as a
female caller recounted her memories of motorcycle gang members who
gave away toys at Christmas. Quit it! Didn’t she watch New
Jack City? Some of the biggest criminals in US history used - and
use - philanthropy as a cover for their illicit crimes - including
banks and cancer charities! I find it ironic that white people
easily argue NOT to broad-brush all involved, in light of a single
incident, yet quickly broad-brush Black Americans when one negative
incident takes the center stage.
I’ll unapologetically say that just because motorcycle gang members act
in charitable episodes, that in and of itself does not excuse the fact
that many deal in illicit acts as a means of livelihood - like any
other race or class of Americans. Many motorcycle gang members
are white separatists who deserve to be marginalized even further than
they are. The arrest images show both racism, unequal justice and
above all, privilege...and today's conversation further reveals
America's greater weakness: dealing with racism. Thanks to social
media, the conversation gets reverted back to the real issue: white men
with guns! How did they get to leave the scene - standing upright
- whether arrested or not, whereas Black men leave the scene battered,
bloodied or under a coroner’s sheet? I’m simply asking.
I perused the AP photo gallery and saw pics of big, burly,
elephant-sized, vested white males sitting unhandcuffed. Some were even
texting while police conducted primary investigations. You
already know that in Black neighborhoods, Black men - armed or not -
are immediately handcuffed (usually with their hands behind their
backs) and sat on a hard, cold curb and often worse, laid face down on
a cold, concrete sidewalk. Most are injured to some degree, like
Freddy Gray was in Baltimore, presenting no threat to the law
enforcement officer. I’ve presented a clear snapshot of unequal
Why is unequal justice a worthy topic this week? I’m talking about it
to white Americans because I want white Americans to get real.
All of the “I believe in the unerring Word of God” talk is bulls#$% to
the highest degree. When it comes to living in the “land of the
BlackCommentator.com Columnist, Perry Redd, longtime activist & organizer, is the Executive Director of the workers rights advocacy, Sincere
Seven that currently owns the FCC license for WOOK-LP 103.1FM/ok103.org. His latest book, Perry NoName: A Journal From A Federal Prison-book 1, chronicles his ‘behind bars’ activism that extricated him from a 42-year sentence and is now case law. He is also the author of As A Condition of Your Freedom: A Guide to Self-Redemption From Societal Oppression, Mr. Redd also hosts a radio show, Socially Speaking, from his Washington, DC studio. Contact Mr. Redd and BC.
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David A. Love, JD
Nancy Littlefield, MBA